Editors Forum Bulletin #2

The first day of the formal conference kicked off with more Sree Sreenivasan. His emphasis was that magazines have to make use of every platform there is: Facebook, Twitter, mobile platforms, Tumblr, Weibo (that’s more or less the Chinese Facebook, or something along those lines), Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube. Take every opportunity to connect and get your content out on every available platform. Other of his more interesting points:

— The scarcest resource of the 21st century is human attention.

— Think of how many people have never heard of you, but would be glad for encountering your work if you found some way to connect them to it.

— If you want to get something done at a big, unwieldy institution, call it “a pilot program” and just do it.

— Do more with Instagram and LinkedIn, two underutilized content platforms.

— Put social media addresses everywhere. Make yourself easy to follow.

— People love a peek behind the scenes. Build anticipation for forthcoming stories by alerting audiences that they are in the works and posting tantalizing glimpses of what’s coming up.

— Create hashtags for your important stories and find a way to get those into the magazine, to kickstart online discussions.

— Your social media content needs to be helpful, useful, timely, informative, relevant, practical, actionable, generous, credible, brief, entertaining, fun, occasionally funny. Or at least several of those things.

The second session featured, from New York magazine, the design director, Thomas Alberty, and the editor, Jared Hohlt, talking about cover design. I suspect they are older than they look, because they looked like roommates from sophomore year of college. (Everyone under 30 has started looking that way to me.) They displayed a lot of provocative and well-designed covers, but convergence with what university magazine editors and designers have to do was limited. For example, New York sometimes mocks up 20 versions of a cover to select the best one. None of us has the resources to do that. The presentation was more of a slideshow than a professional discussion of how alumni magazines might produce better covers.

Now there is rumor of a cocktail party. I’m off.

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